By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Hasan Abubakar has disclosed that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expecting 51 additional platforms to boost counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations in the country.
The CAS stated this while addressing officers and men during his maiden operational tour of NAF units in Makurdi, Benue State.
In a statement by Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force made available to newsmen, Abubakar noted that acquisition of additional platforms would bolster training, air power employment and projection.
The platforms being expected, according to the CAS, include 2 Agusta 109 Trekker Multi-role helicopters, 2 Beechcraft King Air 360, 3 Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft and 6 T-129 ATAK helicopters.
Other pending acquisitions include 2 CASA -295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters and 24 M-346 attack aircraft.
All these acquisitions, according to the CAS, demonstrates the Federal Government’s deep commitment to equipping the NAF for the safe conduct of training and agile airpower employment to meet the Nation’s security challenges.
Speaking further, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar stated that the NAF would continue to enhance cooperation and jointness as part of a whole-of-nation approach to quickly resolving the security challenges bedeviling the country.
“While the NAF augments its airpower measures and approaches, it will also continue to promote seamless interoperability of equipment and joint force employment by the various services.”
He therefore enjoined the personnel to cooperate with other services and security agencies to meet the high expectations of Nigerians on the Armed Forces as well as restore peace and security and ensure a safe and prosperous Nation.
Air Vice Marshal Abubakar went on to note that though the successes so far recorded were largely due to the renewed cooperation and jointness between the Services and other security agencies, it must be enhanced and sustained.
The CAS also assured the personnel of his commitment to proactively address maintenance and logistics support for all NAF fleet to ensure it surpasses the current average serviceability of over 78 per cent.
On training, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar stated that overseas and local training will henceforth be deliberate and targeted to address deficiencies in needed skills and capabilities, just as selection for such courses will be purely merit-based to ensure that only the most qualified are selected to give the NAF value for money.
On welfare, the CAS noted that under his watch, problems of poor electricity and water supply as well as dilapidated accommodation and road infrastructure on all NAF Bases would be given the utmost priority they deserve to ensure personnel and their families live comfortably.
While assuring them of prompt payment of all entitlements, he also promised to look into the issue of uniforms and other accoutrements. The CAS also called on the need for the personnel to remain disciplined, diligent and responsible in their conduct in and out of uniform